Friday, October 23, 2009

Week 9.5: The Pittsburgh Pretzel Sandwich Shop

And just when I'd thought I had been to every restaurant in Oakland, the Pittsburgh Pretzel Sandwich Shop opened at Meyran and Forbes!

Yesterday (Thursday), instead of getting some last minute studying in before an exam, I decided to relax my mind with what else but a soft pretzel (such comfort food).

The Pittsburgh Pretzel Sandwich Shop opened two weeks ago, enlivened with black and gold paint, LCD menus, about seven tables, and some really good pretzel sandwiches. Now, this place is not to be confused with the "Philly Soft Pretzel Factory" --- a favorite stop in my hometown, with it's classic tri-pack of braided pretzels.

Pittsburgh's pretzels are the classic tri-sectioned single twist pretzels, sliced in half and filled with your favorite sandwich fixings. I had a chicken salad sandwich, Adam had a grilled BBQ chicken sandwich.

What were my key take aways from the experience?

- The pretzels are warm, soft, and awesome --- they'd be great even if they weren't in sandwich form.
- The price is right, I mean, really right. A pretzel sandwich, a bag of chips, and a bottle of pop for under $7.00 --- take that, Subway!
- The atmosphere is nice: just a quick walk away, window seating available, and some nice soap operas on in the background

The Bottom Line:

The next time you're headed between classes to one of the many Oakland eateries, walk a bit further to the Pittsburgh Pretzel Sandwich Shop for a meal that you can easily afford! (once a day, I'd say)

Eat well, my Friends,

Kelly - from Baltimore

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Week 9: Readbeard's Bar and Grill

I put my to-do list under a book last night... a book that I probably should have been reading instead of going out to a sports bar. But, alas, duty called --- I had a food blog to support.

Amanda and I hi-tailed it out of Oakland and headed up the P.J McArdle Roadway to Readbeard's on Mount Washington (and enjoyed the ride just as much as the meal --- the city looked amazing last night).

As soon as I walked in, the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover" came to mind. The unassuming outside opens into a really nice bar setting --- multiple rooms with arched walkways and windows, new furniture, and walls covered with flat screens. Perfect for Philly's playoff watching (but I'm not commenting about sports, despite being from just outside of Philly, I'm a Pittsburgh fan who's here to talk about food). So, here's how the meal went down:

  • Drinks: Me- Sammy Oktoberfest, Amanda-Water (very nice of her to drive)
  • Appetizer: Fried Ravioli (a classic)
  • Main Course: No, I'm sorry, we were too late for all you can eat crab legs (but good to note: Redbeard's has all you can eat crab legs on Monday nights --- I've heard amazing things about this!)
  • Kelly's Main Course, for real this time: Hamburger Quesadilla, you read correctly, I had burger meat, American cheese, mushrooms, and bacon, toasted to perfection in a Quesadilla crust. I narrowed the varied menu items down to nearly ten items and made a last minute decision when the waitress came by --- I think that I was just intreagued by uniqueness of the idea. Boy was I happy with my choice, my Hamburger Quesadilla was the perfect mix of my favorite American and TexMex food, washed down with a side of fries.
  • Amanda's Main Course: Amanda went for the more traditional "build your own burger" route, and I stole some of her awesome homemade seasoned chips.

The Bottom Line

If you're looking for a new place to watch the game in Pittsburgh (and root for a Pittsburgh sports team, hopefully!), hit up Readbeard's:

  • the menu is incredibly varied
  • the crowd is fun
  • the venue is surprising
  • the price is right (a student's once a week budget, I'll say)

Redbeard's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week 8.5: Max's Allegheny Tavern

Let's talk German Food!

I don't believe that I've commented on a German restaurant in my eight weeks of foodie blogging. So, when Steve suggested Max's Allegheny Tavern as a second restaurant to attend this week (thus the name "Week 8.5"), I immediately began dreaming of Weiner Schnitzel and a good Oktoberfest meal!

We attended Max's last night in the historic Dutchtown section of the North Shore (after a minor detour and wrong turn on the way there). In order to prepare, I fasted for about eight hours before the meal.

I'll cut to the chase --- this place is really cool. Upon entering, you walk into a bar area with high backed booth seating. The hostess then takes you through a labrinth of rooms (each with about seven tables in them), and leads you to your seat under a Tiffany's style lamp. Our table was right next to a window adorned with potted plants.

You can check out the menu for yourself on the website linked above, but you'll have to go in person to get the full menu-reading experience. The menu is on the inside of a replica paper from the 1800's, detailing the history of the North Shore and the Allegheny Tavern building (this led to us taking a very long time to place our order, we were too busy looking at ads from the 19th century)!

90% of the tables were full, and the place gets a bit noisy (perfect atmosphere for eating German food). Here's the run down of our meal:

  • I'll start with the beer (a priority at any German restaurant): I ordered the Spaten Oktoberfest Draft, a rich lager with a fall twist. Steve ordered the Spaten Dark Draft. Both came to the table in a jar. That's right, the draft beers are served in a recycled jar!
  • And now for the bread: assorted bread, which always scares me because I'm afraid of the ubiquitous surprise salt bread. Fear not, there were no salty surprises, only delicious plum spreads.
  • Steve ordered a Weiner Schnitzel with an awesome beer battering --- I tasted a bit of it!
  • I ordered a Weisswurst sausage (veal seasoned with eggs, parsley, and herbs)
  • We both ordered potato pancakes (a staple) with applesauce and sour cream for dipping. As a side note, potato pancakes are honestly the most filling food ever cooked (thank goodness I fasted)!
  • No room for dessert!
The Bottom Line:

Max's has a great atmosphere, lots of history, and an awesome and authentic German menu --- all within a student's twice a month budget.

So, the next time you're thinking German, think Max's, you won't be disappointed!

Max's Allegheny Tavern on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 12, 2009

Week 8: Kelly's Bar and Lounge

I'll admit it, this restaurant was on my list because of it's name...

Don't make that face, if there was a bar that had your name, you would stop by, too.

What was I expecting before attending Kelly's Bar and Lounge in East Liberty this evening? Well, actually I was expecting to go to Abay, a restaurant that has been on my list for ages, but I somehow keep messing up the execution of attending. Tonight, I simply forgot that Abay is not open on Mondays.

So, when my friend Christy called me from outside of Abay to say that we should change our venue plans for dinner, I immediately thought of Kelly's. Because I didn't do my research, I thought that this was an Irish Pub (rookie mistake) for the longest time. It turns out Kelly's is far from an Irish Pub (unless you count the beer). Here's the run-down:

  • Kelly's has a diner-like feel: booth seating with classic diamond shaped vinyl coverings.
  • The menu is 75% alcohol, and the draft list is seasonal and refreshed frequently. I'll be honest, I didn't think outside of the box and went with my classic Yuengling order.
  • There are about twenty American-style menu options, and I ordered a Shrimp Po Boy sandwich (classy), and although the presentation was nothing to write home about, the meal was pretty good. Pretty darn good.
The Bottom Line

Once a week budget, friendly waitresses, varied draft specials, and bench seating galore; I'd say Kelly's is a keeper for late night eats!

Kelly's Bar & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Week 7: Bangkok Balcony

That's right --- two Thai places in a row! I'm really breaking out of my mold now...

This Thursday I went to Bangkok Balcony in Squirrel Hill overlooking the exciting stretch of shops on Forbes Ave. I'm in full swing on the job-hunt, prepping for interviews in the coming weeks; so, I'll keep this short:

  • I ordered Pad Thai with Chicken, and it was awesome. The noodles stuck together perfectly so not only was it delicious, it was also not embarrassing to eat!
  • Our table overlooked Forbes Ave --- awesome for people watching (or in this case, watching people run to their destinations in the rain).
  • Service was great, menu was varied, and the price was right for a once a week college student budget.

Bottom Line
It's a tie (pun intended) between Thai Me Up and Bangkok Balcony for best Thai in Pittsburgh. So, depending on which one you're closest to, I recommend stopping by for some excellent Thai!

Bangkok Balcony on Urbanspoon